Technology and Interactive Media as Tools in Early Childhood Programs


Children will always struggle to learn the environment by exploring anything that comes their way. In the current world, technology and interactive media are gaining entry into the lives of children both at home and in school. As a result, these young children engage in in digital practices, something that compels both their parents and teachers to start recognizing digital resources for their current and future meaning-making. However, the use of computers among children has a profound adverse effect on the physical and social development. Although some people report of the adverse effects of technology and interactive media, many have asserted that computers are significant for child education if their teachers maintain proper control and oversight. That is why more than 80% of the teachers support the use of computers in child education. Access to technology and interactive media opens up possibilities for early childhood learning, helping children to expand their thinking and extending their worlds. Therefore, this research asserts that when intentionally and appropriately utilized, technology and interactive media are a useful tool to support child learning and development.


Impact of Technology and Interactive Media in Child Education

Controversy has surrounded the use of technology and interactive media among children, but many people seem to take a stance to support their use in child education. Some teachers report that the use of computers creates social and physical problems, but a negligible number has witnessed the effects of using computers to child social life and interaction with peers. The reason is that the utilization of the digital technology has many benefits once included in the teaching and learning processes and if appropriately suggests, the benefits are outstanding. According to Sak, Erden, Sak, and Esmeray, many teachers have claimed that computer use is important in providing children with visual materials and drawing their attention, something that increases the attention spans. Such a thing is necessary for the learners to grasp much detail from the taught content.

Additionally, the controlled use of digital resources can enable children under the age of eight years to explore what happens in areas they cannot reach. It is only through the controlled use of interactive media and technology by teachers that a child will be able to understand what happens in other parts of the world through watching or viewing digital content. If teachers use the digital resources well, children from remote Eastern European community and other parts of the world can gain an experience to visit their peers in the US through Skype or observe them through videos, which does not replace human interaction enhance it. Wang, Kinzie, McGuire, and Pan reiterate that using the latest technologies such as video conferencing and digital audio enables children to communicate with peers and subject experts like historians and teachers at low cost. Furthermore, online virtual tours engage the young learning children in authentic, real-life experiences by giving them an opportunity to carefully observe places including museums, geographic attractions and historical sites that they may never visit but are examinable. Such a thing is instrumental in can give the child a good platform for constructive interaction with the rest of the world.

Interactive media and technology further improve the communication skills of children when in use. In their study, Wood, Specht, Willoughby, and Mueller  found that most of the teachers reported computer use in education helps children acquire different skills in subject areas. Some of the skills they mentioned include social, language, and reading skills. Baker reiterates that the use of interactive technology supports the development of communication skills in children because it improves their fluency, grammar, expression, and both oral and written activities. For example, children utilize iMovie software to record their voices during the storytelling sessions, which helps them play back and listen to their oral prowess. Baker further found that the use of word processing programs by children supported stronger, more organized as well as better-elaborated writing with improved standard conventions of both grammar and mechanics. It is, therefore, justifiable to conclude that appropriate use of technology and interactive media sharpens both the oral, writing, and reading skills, which is instrumental to improving communication capacity.

Other than motivating children to learn, technology and interactive enhance both cognitive and metacognitive processes. For instance, children who are reluctant writers get motivated when utilizing word-processing since anxieties about untidiness are removed. Some of the children enjoy using the technologies, and in the process learning becomes interesting. Moreover, technology is useful in handling routine tasks, detecting errors in the processes of learning, and guiding the learners in correcting them. Such a thing enables the children to focus on skills and concepts to be learned rather than getting overwhelmed by irrelevant cognitive demands. That notwithstanding, technology motivates children to reflect on and recognize any discrepancies in their thinking by giving them an opportunity to review their theories and comparing them to those of others. As a result, it helps them be aware of their thinking and help them enhance their problem-solving abilities. Baker reiterates the use of online learning tools and other technology programs foster problem solving as well as critical thinking skills including the discovery of interactions of things and or the predictability of the cause-effect relationships. Therefore, it is important to use these technologies in the education of children of eight years of age and below.

The importance of appropriate use of technology and interactive media in the introduction is what makes teachers, parents and the child learning centers support the utilization of digital resources in child education. In their research, Wood, Specht, Willoughby, and Mueller explain that 89% of the teachers reported that their education centers support the introduction of computer technology in child education. Other than most teachers supporting the issue, Wood, Specht, Willoughby, and Mueller further found that parents strongly endorsed computer use as part of the program of learning for their children. The willingness was seen in parents efforts to fundraise and donate computer hardware and software and forceful signing of their children in computer programs even when their children were not interested. The importance of technology and interactive media motivates the National Association for the Education of Young Children to continue introducing new digital resources for young children. Therefore, it is of critical importance to introduce and adopt the appropriate use of technology and interactive media in young child education since it is fully supported by parents, teachers, and child learning centers.

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When used intentionally and appropriately, technology and interactive media are effective in supporting learning and development of children from eight years of age and below. Digital resources are essential in the provision of visual and audio materials, which increase the attention span among children. Furthermore, children utilize these resources to interact with subject experts who are far away through the use of technologies like Skype and video conferencing among others. Children can virtually visit important and examinable places they may never visit. The role of technology in communication improvement among children cannot be underestimated because it enhances the oral, writing and reading skills. These resources also improve the cognitive and metacognitive processes in children through the improvement of their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities. The use of technology and interactive media use in child learning processes has received the support from the teachers and the learning centers as well as the parents.

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